Misfit Shine 2 Review: The Best Activity Tracker for under $100
The Misfit Shine 2 never fails to draw attention to itself, thanks to its unusual simplicity. As wearables get fancier and pack on more features, the Misfit Shine series seems to revel in whittling away at unnecessary bells and whistles.
When Misfit Shine launched in 2013, it immediately stood out for its style. It was a simple super-minimalist metal disk with tiny futuristic LED lights as the only interface between it and the user. Fast forward to 2015 and the minimalist metal disk is still present in the Misfit Shine 2 design. It makes quite a few improvements on the first version and still manages to remain under $100.
An Overview of Misfit Shine 2
If you are too short of time to go through the entire review, here is a quick recap to get you up to date with the Shine 2. If you want a more comprehensive take on this fitness and sleep tracker, jump to the next section.
Shine 2 is considerably larger than the first Misfit Shine and a bit thinner. The result is an even more futuristic look than that of its predecessor. With the new look, it comes across as more unisex than the dainty style of the first Shine.
Once you start using the tracker, you realize many more changes have taken place on the inside. The first thing you will notice is the party of multicolored LED lights. The LEDs light up in specific hues to indicate a variety of notifications such as a call on your phone, a vibrating alarm or a movement reminder. It may be a bit confusing in the beginning, but with time, you will be a pro at recognizing what the different colors mean.
The Shine 2 tracker comes with a number of impressive features. One area where it excels at is activity tracking. It is amazingly accurate at measuring distances, just as good as GPS trackers. It can also count steps and estimate how many calories you have burned. It can be used in multiple sporting activities including biking and swimming. (it is water proof up to a 50-meter depth)
The tracker can also detect when you have fallen asleep and when you wake up, logging how many hours of quality sleep you have had. All this information can then be accessed on the Misfit App on your Smartphone. Using this app, you can track your sleep and activity, set goals, compete with family and friends and log your diet and weight.
There is also another app, Misfit Link, that you can connect to your tracker and use it to do a variety of remote actions such as play slides in a presentation, turn on/off your home smart lights, activate your phone camera, play and pause music and so on.
The main issue most people have with Misfit Shine 2 is the band. The disk keeps popping off especially when you are engaged in an activity such as running. This was a problem with Misfit Shine and it seems to have persisted through to Misfit Shine 2. But it seems the band was later redesigned and now the disk has a hard time falling out.
Overall, this is one of the best and simplest activity trackers in the market. After fixing the band issues, we heartily recommend it with a 4/5 star rating. Read on for a full review.
Misfit Shine 2 Design
If you want a conversation starter, the Misfit Shine 2 tracker will not disappoint. We are so used to screens on wearables, especially watches, that seeing the Shine 2 with its bare metal face takes one aback. If you did not get the first Shine tracker, it will almost feel like you are wearing some alien technology especially when the multicolored LEDs start lighting up.
But we will give it points for style. If not an alien device, someone would mistakenly take it for a piece of jewelry. It is minimalist, simple and undoubtedly elegant. It is an unusual tech gadget with no screen, no button and not even a charging port.
There are two ways you can wear the Shine 2; on your wrist as an activity tracker watch or use the provided accessory to clip it onto your shirt, waist, socks or shoes. Regardless of how you wear it, it will still work as expected.
One design complaint that was there in Misfit Shine and is still there in Misfit Shine 2 is the tracking unit falling out so many times. In Shine 2, Misfit tried to cure the problem by introducing a specialized clip that goes on the underside of the disk and attaches to the band. Users noted that this actually made the problem worse with the risk of losing the tracker very high. Users lost it when running, when rummaging through their bags, when working.
Thankfully, Misfit redesigned the band, added an action clip and even shipped it to users pre-assembled. (http://www.wareable.com/misfit/misfit-redesign-shine-2-action-2371) While users say that the disk still pops out now and then, there has been a huge improvement. If you have the original Shine 2 band, you should get in contact with the customer service at Misfit about a change.
Misfit Shine 2 Features
1. Activity tracking
The Misfit Shine 2 is one of the best activity trackers you can get. Despite not having GPS, it performs just as well as GPS devices in tracking distance metrics. To start tracking your activities, you can wear it on your wrist as a watch or clip it onto your clothes or shoes. Choose what kind of activity you are doing such as running, swimming, cycling or basketball.
If you are not engaged in any workout or sport activity, you can still use it to track your daily steps. 10,000 steps is often cited as the benchmark for an active life that will keep you fit and healthy.
Using a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer, the tracker can measure your distance, number of steps and calories burned. This information is uploaded on the Misfit App where you can monitor your daily activity levels.
Another nice feature we really liked was the movement reminder alert. If you stay seated for too long, the tracker will vibrate gently to let you know that it is time to move around a bit. You can set movement timer to nudge you at specific times of the day.
If you are looking for a simple, effective and affordable fitness tracker, we highly recommend the Misfit Shine 2. The only thing we feel should not have lacked is a heart rate tracker. Measuring the heart rate has become a basic for fitness trackers today and it is sort of disappointing that Misfit did not make the inclusion in Shine 2. It means that for serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts, the Shine 2 just won’t do.
2. Sleep tracking
The Misfit Shine 2 is not just an activity tracker, it also tracks sleep quality and duration. You do not even have to press a button (it’s not like there is one) or tell it when you are retiring for the night. It will automatically detect when you are dozing off and immediately start tracking your sleep. It makes a decent attempt at detecting light and deep phases of sleep. You can see these intervals later in form of a graph on the companion Misfit App. In addition to quality of sleep, it will also tell you how long you slept.
The combination of sleep and activity information provides a nice overview of your health, helping you determine whether you are leading a healthy lifestyle. On the app, you can set goals towards healthier milestones.
A minor mishap when it comes to sleep tracking is that the tracker can at times log in your afternoon naps. This results in an unusually long sleep duration being recorded on the app. If this happens frequently with your Shine 2, you can try taking it off when taking a power nap to avoid the confusion.
3. Time keeping
It would be weird if the Misfit Shine 2 did not tell you the time, considering that it takes the place of a watch. But it is still unusual in how it tells you the time. Since the 12 LED lights are the only kind of interface on the tracker, it uses those to tell you the time. The hour hand will be represented by a steady light while the minute hand will flash. It will take some time to get the time right, especially knowing the right orientation to read the time in.
You can also set an alarm to wake you up in the morning. The alarm alerts you using light vibrations. If you are a heavy sleeper, you might not want to take the risk if relying on the Misfit Shine 2 to wake you up in time to go to work.
The Misfit Shine 2 can connect wirelessly to a range of devices including your Smartphone, other fitness devices and smart home gadgets. It connects through Bluetooth 4.1, which provides a strong and stable connection to compatible devices.
When you pair it up with your Smartphone, there are various things you can do;
- Control the front facing camera of your phone to take a selfie.
- Remotely play/pause music playing on your Smartphone.
- Connect to various internet services such as Twitter and Google Drive.
- Alert you to calls, texts and other notifications on your connected Smartphone.
The Misfit Shine 2 has two main companion apps; the Misfit app and the Misfit Link app. All activity and sleep information is uploaded on the main Misfit App. Here you can:
- View and monitor your fitness and sleep information. This includes number of steps taken, calories burned, distance, sleep quality and sleep duration.
- Set goals related to your health and fitness. If you surpass your goals, the tracker will let you know using the LED lights. For 100% achievement, all the LEDs will light up. For more than 100% achievement, the ring of light will go around the face more than once. It takes some getting used to understand what all the different indicators mean.
- The app also comes with a social feature where you can connect to friends and even compete against them all in an effort to motivate you toward a healthier and fitter you.
- Add more information to the app including your daily diet and weight measurements.
The other app, the Misfit Link gives you even more control over your world. You can:
- Control your phone’s camera.
- Control music on your phone.
- Connect to and control smart devices and appliances in your home such as the Nest Thermostat.
- Use it to play your slides during a presentation.
6. Battery life
The battery life is one of the most impressive features of the Shine 2. We mentioned in the beginning that the tracker does not contain a charging port. Since it has no wireless charging, where does it source its power?
The answer is a non-rechargeable Panasonic CR2032 coin cell. Under normal use, Misfit says that the tracker is supposed to last 6 months after which you need to replace the battery. This adds to the simplicity of the tracker, eliminating the need to keep charging up the device.
Misfit Shine 2 Quick Specs
- Bluetooth 4.1 wireless connectivity.
- Available in two colors; black and rose gold. Note that this refers only to the color of the tracker unit. The band remains black whether you opt for the black or rose gold colored unit.
- Waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters. This means you can wear it when it is raining, when you are cooking, when you are showering and you can even go for a swim in it. But it is not a diving watch.
- Alarm, movement, call and text vibration alerts.
- Non-rechargeable (replaceable) battery with a 6-month life.
- Includes a capacitive touch sensor for quick responsiveness.
Choosing a fitness tracker today involves choosing from an almost endless stack of wearables. But they do not come as strange as the Misfit Shine 2. In its own simple and elegant way, it stands out from the crowd. To add it its appeal, it is effective and most importantly, affordable.
If you are not ready to fork out $300 or more for an expensive fitness tracker, the Shine 2 might be just what you are looking for.
What do you think about Misfit Shine 2? If you already have it, kindly share your experiences, both negative and positive.